Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"A Flashy, Show-biz Razzle-dazzle Fashion"

In January the rumour was that one of the March releases from FTD would be a concert from Shreveport, June 7, 1975. As it turned out, Our Memories Of Elvis took its place. But this time around it's confirmed: Another Saturday Night, featuring the evening show of June 7, will be released by the end of April. (The title alludes to the fact that Shreveport was the home of the Louisiana Hayride radio show where Elvis made more than 50 Saturday night appearances from 1954 to 1956.)

Thanks to earlier FTD releases such as Dixieland Rock and Dixieland Delight I've learned what an incredible experience it must have been to see Elvis live on tour in the spring and summer of 1975. Not only was Elvis himself often in good spirits and voice, but the audiences also created atmospheres in the auditoriums that were incredible.

No doubt this holds true for the Shreveport evening show as well. More than 11,000 fans attended this concert, as well as the afternoon show a couple of hours earlier. But there was one person in the audience who didn't seem to enjoy himself; Mark Melson who wrote a review for the Shreveport Times. Lee Cotten refers to the review in his book Did Elvis Sing In Your Hometown, Too?, and it's a funny read.
Melson wasn't pleased with "How Great Thou Art" - possibly the only person in the auditorium who felt this way. According to Melson, the song "was sung in a flashy, show-biz razzle-dazzle fashion that seemed completely at odds with the message of this popular hymn." Melson did admit, "The audience seemed to enjoy Presley's stage antics as much as his singing." One of Melson's problems was the location of his seat - slightly behind Elvis and two rows from the railing. As he later wrote, "My feet got trampled, my notebook was knocked from my hand, and one little girl even stepped on my right shoulder on her path to the railing."
Interestingly enough, Lee Cotten also reports that it was rumored that the Shreveport evening show would be broadcast nationwide to celebrate Elvis' 20th Anniversary with RCA Victor, but that this didn't happen. Now, thanks to FTD, the concert will be available for all who wants to know how it sounded when Elvis performed in Shreveport for the first time since leaving the "Hayride." And unlike Mark Melson, I'm sure I'll enjoy it.

By the end of April, FTD will also release the book Welcome Home Elvis 1960 covering the vital weeks in 1960 where Elvis regained control over his career, as well as Promised Land – The Companion Album on vinyl.

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